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LEED certification for new buildings: Building Design and Construction (BD+C)

LEED certification for new buildings

LEED for Building Design and Construction

LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C) provides a framework for building a holistic green building, giving you the chance to nail down every sustainability feature, maximizing the benefits.

A LEED for every project

LEED works for all project types from hospitals to manufacturing plants, showrooms and office buildings. LEED BD+C has options to fit every project. Use a specialty option for unique needs or use New Construction and Major Renovations for everything else.

  • New Construction and Major Renovation. Addresses design and construction activities for both new buildings and major renovations of existing buildings that do not primarily serve k-12 educational, retail, data center, warehouse and distribution center, hospitality, healthcare or residential uses. These projects include major HVAC improvements, significant building envelope modifications and major interior rehabilitation. (Teams using LEED v4 may also use this option for multifamily residential projects that have nine or more stories).
  • Core and Shell Development. For projects where the developer controls the design and construction of the entire mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection system—called the core and shell—but not the design and construction of the tenant fit-out. Use this option for projects that are less than 60% complete at the time of certification. (LEED v4 and LEED v4.1)
  • Data Centers. Specifically designed and equipped to meet the needs of high-density computing equipment, such as server racks, used for data storage and processing. (LEED v4 and LEED v4.1)
  • Healthcare. For hospitals that operate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week and provide inpatient medical treatment, including acute and long-term care. (LEED v4 and LEED v4.1)
  • Hospitality. Dedicated to hotels, motels, inns or other businesses within the service industry that provide transitional or short-term lodging with or without food. (LEED v4 and LEED v4.1)
  • Retail. Addresses the unique needs of retailers—from banks, restaurants, apparel, electronics, big box and everything in between. (LEED v4 and LEED v4.1)
  • Schools. For buildings made up of core and ancillary learning spaces on K-12 school grounds. Can also be used for higher education and non-academic buildings on school campuses. (LEED v4 and LEED v4.1)
  • Warehouses and Distribution Centers. For buildings used to store goods, manufactured products, merchandise, raw materials or personal belongings, like self-storage. (LEED v4 and LEED v4.1)

LEED v4.1

LEED v4.1 is our most inclusive and transparent platform to date. Leaders in the private sector as well as state and municipal governments are stepping up with initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, expanding activities that impact human health and well-being and devising effective solutions to life-threatening challenges around the U.S. and the globe.

LEED v4.1 BD+C updates referenced standards to encourage leadership, responds to market feedback and makes our rating system more accessible than ever before.

  • To directly address the carbon impact of a building, for the first time, the energy metric now includes both cost and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • In addition, to ensure leadership in building efficiency, the referenced standard for energy performance is ASHRAE 90.1-2016.
  • The Materials and Resources credits have been restructured to include options that acknowledge efforts at varying levels, bridging the gap from where the market is currently to the goals identified in LEED v4 and carried into LEED v4.1. U.S. Green Building Council.
  • Other credits have adjusted thresholds based on market feedback, such as Rainwater Management requirements that now include a lowered minimum percentile for rainfall events and more guidance for zero-lot-line projects.
  • The compliance methodology in the Low-Emitting Materials credit is more straightforward, while promoting holistic consideration of the wide range of products installed in the building and how they impact indoor air quality.
  • The Daylight and Acoustic Performance credits are restructured to give more flexibility to the designer to appropriately address important design considerations, including: excessive sunlight (for daylight) and sound transmission between spaces (for acoustics).
  • A new credit, Renewable Energy, addresses diverse methods of renewables procurement and evolving global renewables markets

How certification works

For projects in progress

There are a number of tools and resources available to support you when working on your LEED project including:

For new projects

  1. Choose your rating system. For the new construction of whole buildings, start by finding the option that best fits your project by exploring the BD+C offerings. For residential projects (both sing family and multifamily) review the options specific to that sector. View the full list of LEED v4.1 rating systems or view the full list of LEED v4 rating systems. There are also Certification models for multiple buildings and options for federal building projects.
  2. Check the requirements and options. Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) are the basic requirements that let you know if your project can pursue LEED. These requirements are the same for LEED v4 and LEED v4.1. LEED credits allow project teams to customize how they pursue LEED. By fulfilling credits, project teams earn points that, once added together, determine a project’s certification level. Learn more about LEED prerequisites and credits or access the LEED credit library.
  3. Deadlines. At any given time, a LEED rating system is either open for registration and certification, closed for registration but open for certification or sunset (closed for both registration and certification). View the deadlines to make sure you know the status of your desired rating system/version.
  4. Fees. View the fees table to find the LEED registration and certification costs.
  5. Build your team. Goals and roles are key elements to consider when starting any project and it's no different in LEED. There could be several people who are members of the project team. Learn more in the Guide to Certification for your selected project type.
  6. Register your project in LEED Online and follow the steps in the Guide to Certification for your project type.


Once your project has earned LEED certification, there are some steps you can take to promote or maintain your certification.  

  • Get the word out; you can start by updating your project profile in the LEED Project Directory.
  • As a LEED-certified project, you have access to Arc, a platform that allows you to meet LEED energy and water data tracking requirements (post certification) and manage performance across five areas: energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience. Learn more about Arc.
  • Protect your investment with LEED recertification. This new guidance presents a simple and data-driven pathway, reassuring projects that they are meeting ever-changing goals and staying on the cutting edge. Learn more about LEED recertification.
  • Go further with LEED Zero certification, a complement to LEED that verifies the achievement of net zero goals in carbon, energy, water and waste. Learn more about LEED Zero.